The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it will offer professional guidance on the proposed Lekki airport in Lagos, in line with its regulations and in the interest of safety.
Mr Sam Adurogboye, the General Manager, Public Affairs of NCAA, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.
Recall that the Special Adviser Lagos State Governor on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), Mr Ope George, on Thursday expressed the state readiness to construct a new airport on the Lekki axis.
George revealed that the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led government had sought and obtained approval from the Federal Government for the construction of the new airport in Lagos.
He said thst the project, expected to take off in 2023, would be constructed on 3,500 hectares of land.
Reacting to the development, Adurigboye assured that the aviation regulatory body would monitor the project from beginning to the end when the time comes.
“NCAA is not opposed to developmental strides, and the initial approval comes from Federal Ministry of Aviation, while NCAA also gives its approval.
“We will also supervise it from beginning to the end and certify it okay before the usage of the airport” he said.
Adurogboye said building an airport around the axis meant infrastructure development, which was good for the economy, the community and the state where it is situated.
Meanwhile, an aviation expert, retired Group Capt. John Ojikutu, commenting on the state government’s plan, said Lagos deserved a second airport.
He, however, said that the plan had been on for a long time and wondered why it was taking so long to begin it.
Ojikutu, who is the Secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART), said that the state’s plan came to light during the tenure of former Lagos governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
The ART is a non-governmental organisation established to advocate air safety and security in all areas of the aviation sector.
Fashola was governor of Lagos State from 2007 to 2015.
Ojikutu said that the project was supposed to be going on side by side with the Lekki Free Trade Zone and deep seaport.
“I welcomed it at the first mention about 10 years ago and I still do today.
“Lagos actually deserves a second airport which originally was planned to be sited at Imagbon near Badagry, where the Air Force now located at Ikeja was to be located.
“The bulk of the passengers destined for Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) live far away in Victoria Island and Lekki.
“I’m sure if statistics of regular passengers at the MMA are to be taken today, the percentage of that come from these areas cannot be less than 50 per cent.
” Also, they probably are the major reasons for most flights delays when the load factor of flights are not made early.”
Ojikutu said that building of the airport could be achieved in many ways, but the most promising one that was globally done was concession through the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
According to him, there are many social needs that will need the type of money required to build an airport, hence the importance of PPP.
The state government had said that the master plan and aeronautical designs of the planned airport were in place.
It said studies were ongoing about strategies, funding and other issues, after which the project would be taken to the market place.
The airport, according to the state government, is expected to cater to a minimum of five million people yearly.
It said it would be constructed in partnership with local and foreign investors.(NAN)